Category Archives: Folk

Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture (2019)

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On the subject of ladies with style, I feature Ms Harding for the second time this year. ‘Fixture Picture’ is the opening track off her most recent album Designer. I like one youtuber’s comment that it sounds like Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Beck’s Morning Phase had a baby girl. And what’s more, the hats and the curious dance moves are an added bonus.

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Tim Hardin – Black Sheep Boy (1967)

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Oregon-born James Timothy Hardin is probably best known for his hit single ‘If I Were a Carpenter’ that has been covered by the likes of Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, Small Faces and Bert Jansch. It featured on his sophomore album, Tim Hardin 2, for the short-lived Verve Forecast label. The album also contain a son that I admire even more… ‘Black Sheep Boy’ has been covered by Scott Walker and Okkervil River. The Black Sheep Boy died of of a heroin overdose in 1980.

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Van Morrison – Madame George (1968)

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The one and only Madame George playing dominoes in drag. Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the greatest albums in rock history, and despite not featuring on the LP’s fabled Side 1 (‘The Beginning’), ‘Madame George’ is at the album’s heart. This was Van Morrison at his most powerfully spiritual. Have a great weekend.

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The Books feat. José González – Cello Song (2008)

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I mentioned Nick Drake this week. Three years before they disbanded, the NYC duo The Breaks took their musical combination of folk and electronica to their love of the Warwickshire man’s music. They worked with José González to cover ‘Cello Song’, a song that originally featured on Drake’s debut album Five Leaves Left. Yesterday, Omar S’s appreciation of the piano bedazzled. Today it’s Paul De Jong’s cello. Have a great weekend.

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Aldous Harding – The Barrel (2019)

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New Zealand singer-songwriter Hannah Harding (aka Aldous Harding) had already drawn much praise for her gothic folk. Then, in 2017, she signed to 4AD and enlisted the help of John Parish of Sparklehorse and PJ Harvey fame. Her sophomore album Party was released in 2017 to critical acclaim. Now, things continue to move onwards and upwards… her new single ‘The Barrel’ is a forerunner to a new album ‘Designer’ due to be released in April 2019. This is a modern take on folk, but still in the tradition of Nick Drake.

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Beirut – Gallipoli (2018)

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Gallipoli will be the fifth studio album by indie folk band Beirut. It is expected to be released on 1 February 2019. The album is named after the Italian town where the title track was written. Welcome back Zach.

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The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2009)

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Next it’s the ethereal sound of The Low Anthem. ‘Charlie Darwin’ is the opening track off the the Rhode Islander’s 2009 album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

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Bill Callahan – Riding For The Feeling (2011)

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A year before Sharon Van Etten sang ‘We Are Alright’, Bill Callahan was creating his own heartfelt sounds. His confessional song ‘Riding For The Feeling’ features on his 2011 long player Apocalypse.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (1969)

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And now for a slight change of style… Joni Mitchell’s 1969 album Clouds was a breakthrough work for the singer-songwriter. It featured two of her standards ‘Chelsea Morning’ and ‘Both Sides Now’. The truth is that I prefer a number of cover versions of the former; not so for ‘ Both Sides Now’ and its ice cream castles in the air. Have a great weekend.

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The Band – The Weight (1968)

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The hugely influential ‘The Weight’ was written by Robbie Robertson. The Band released the song as a single and on their 1968 album Music From Big Pink. Rock music would never be quite the same again. Have a great weekend.

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Townes Van Zandt – Dollar Bill Blues (1978)

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For me, country music recordings should come with warning labels. I often find it trite and dewy-eyed. Not so for much of the output of Townes Van Zandt. ‘Dollar Bill Blues’ featured on his 1978 collection Flyin’ Shoes. I like nostalgia and the storytelling as much as the next man…  gambling, booze, self-destruction and late-night love.

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Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day (1972)

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Van Morrison’s majestic album Saint Dominic’s Preview, closes with ‘Almost Independence Day’. With its echoes of his work on Astral Weeks, I was always going to like this song. I was not alone; David Gilmour and Roger Waters were evidently listening and wishing they were here.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping (1969)

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In May 1969, Atlantic Records released Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s self-titled debut album. A  month later, they released “Marrakesh Express” as the supergroup’s debut single. Its B-side, was the alliterate ‘Helplessly Hoping’, the achingly beautiful song penned Stephen Stills.

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Villagers – A Trick Of The Light (2018)

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‘Trick Of The Light’ is the first release from Villagers’ forthcoming album The Art Of Pretending To Swim. The track opens to a steady pulse and quickly creates a groove that is more than slightly R&B. The folk returns as the song progresses and Conor O’Brien chases ‘A Trick Of The Light’.

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Sweet Baboo – Let’s Go Swimming Wild (2013)

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The talented Stephen Black is a singer-songwriter from Wales. In 2013, he released the quirky album Ships on Moshi Moshi Records. ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ gives listeners a slightly psychedelic flavour of Sweet Baboo.
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